Star Wars: Battlefront III may be the most famous Star Wars game that’s never actually been made. Many studios have worked on it. TimeSplitters studio Free Radical claim to have made a nearly finished version of the game before LucasArts stuck a pin in it back in 2009. Defunct Mercenaries studio Pandemic took it over, but their Battlefront III died the same ignoble death as its The Dark Knight movie tie-in. Even Slant Six Games, makers of the abominable Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City, worked on a version known as Star Wars: Battlefront Online that was killed in 2010. There is a slim chance that the game may, in fact, be cursed.
Technically speaking, as of today the game doesn’t exist. But deep inside game studio LucasArts, one of the sole remaining internal development teams is slaving away on Star Wars: First Assault, a downloadable precursor to a planned Star Wars: Battlefield 3. The game may never come out though, as the now Disney-owned Lucasfilm refuses to clarify its plans for LucasArts.
Speaking with Kotaku, a source that was in the loop with LucasArts’ internal workings but is “no longer familiar with the goings-on” at the studio, confirmed that Star Wars: First Assault was a Call of Duty-style multiplayer predecessor to Battlefront III. It was supposed to be released on Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network in beta testing in September 2012, but the surprise Disney acquisition of Lucasfilm put those plans on hold. The game would have featured 8 versus 8 player matches between rebels and Empire troopers in familiar locales. Only Battlefield III would feature vehicles and Jedi, but the team had already started prototyping them for the full retail game to follow.
Digital Trends first reported on First Assault in October when the game leaked in an Xbox Live Arcade game listing. Now this game, and the widely covered Star Wars 1313, may never be finished due to the uncertain future of the studio.
Kotaku’s source, which said that LucasArts is “bleeding talent” as Disney decides the studio’s fate, called on fans to speak up in favor of high quality Star Wars games.
“Fans should tell Disney/Lucas loud and clear they don’t want shitty titles from random developers; they want games to be taken seriously, and they will only pay for quality. I believe that if Disney/Lucas lets LucasArts die, it means the death of Star Wars as a storied game franchise is right behind it.”